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Asian shares mixed in muted trading ahead of US Fed meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost nearly 0.1 percent to 21,566.85. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 6,184.80 and South Korea's Kospi inched down less than 0.1 percent to 2,177.62. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 29,418.12, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2 percent to 3,090.98.

Shares rose in India. Taiwan's benchmark was unchanged and those in Southeast Asia were mixed. U.S. stock indexes finished modestly higher Monday, extending the market's solid gains from a rally last week.

The S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 2,832.94. The benchmark index is now up 13 percent for 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it's had in four of the last five full years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent to 25,914.10.

The Nasdaq composite added 0.3 percent to 7,714.48, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.7 percent, to 1,563.93. Investors are speculating over whether the Federal Reserve might slow its pace of interest rate increases. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast, choking off growth as the global economy slowed. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy later week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday.

Economists expect the Fed to announce no change to rates, but it might release documents that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four times in 2018 and three times in 2017.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil was unchanged at $59.09 a barrel. It rose 1 percent on Tuesday. Brent crude gained 4 cents to $67.58 a barrel. CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.26 yen from 111.56 yen Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1344 from $1.1338.

AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Alex Vega contributed to this report.

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en

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